Cold Opening – At This Hour
- Funny opening lines from Kate.
- It is also kinda weird that this is our third CNN cold open in a row, and I also recall having several CNN cold opens & sketches on a frequent basis next season.
- Cecily’s energy & full-on batshit performance here as Trump supporter Scottie Nell Hughes is absolutely hilarious, and Kate’s straight man work also complements Cecily’s great performance to a perfect degree.
- A memorable, priceless part with Cecily’s Nell Hughes quoting Missy Elliott’s “Work It” in the middle of her rambling.
- I love the very unique way the LFNY is delivered here, with Kate & Cecily turning to face each other while in separate split-screens and saying the LFNY in unison.
- Good to see Bobby’s hilarious George R. R. Martin impression back, as his pervy behavior here is very funny.
- Kate looks perfect as Daenerys Targaryen, and is pulling her role well here.
- This monologue serves as a time capsule of how huge Game of Thrones was at the time, as this monologue is playing with several tropes from the show, and the cast is having fun with their impressions.
- Vanessa’s whole part where she wants to do a topless scene steals the monologue for me.
- Traditional backstage llama, showgirls, and Abraham Lincoln!!!
- Funny involvement from Leslie at the end of the monologue.
Winnie The Pooh
- Good performance by Jay as this out-of-place character & the Winnie The Pooh setting is bringing to me some nice childhood memories.
- I like Peter’s voice & characterization as Winnie The Pooh, not only is it fun, but is also very endearing to me.
- Solid delivery from Jay regarding Peter’s Winnie eating only honey.
- Good ending.
Naked and Afraid: Celebrity Edition
- A very funny premise for this short, and a great use of Leslie & Peter’s size and personality differences in a fun way.
- A huge laugh early on from Leslie stepping out of the car ALREADY naked.
- Like many of SNL’s shorts, this one is an absolutely spot-on recreation of these types of survivor-esque reality shows.
- The scene where Leslie sleeps next to Peter, and the awkward tension is priceless, and is probably what really makes this short as great as it as.
- Peter & Leslie’s chemistry here is excellent, and Leslie’s utilization here is FAR better than some of the dreck she’s usually given, like the dreadful New Studio sketch from the previous episode, amongst others.
- fyodoren: Mikey & Streeter Seidell, of course, wrote this classic one-off, and boy is it a ride. Mikey explained in an interview with Mashable that his idea was to spoof old suspense films that took place in seedy nightclubs, with serious characters doing serious things while beautiful lounge singers belt out harmonious music in the background. Well, if you’re looking to flip that on its ear with something RIDICULOUS, you can hardly beat this premise.
- We open with Jon’s signature flub, probably the most memorable moment of his brief, rocky tenure. It looks like he simply blew his & Pete’s cue, pushing Pete into dialogue that makes no sense and throwing off the first 20 seconds of the sketch. With whatever that was, Jon immediately joined Jenny Slate as short-short-short term casters remembered more for a massive flub than for any sketch contributions.
- No judgment meant on Jon, of course, as we’re all allowed to fuck up here and there.
- I remember thinking live that that goof was a baaaad omen for what already looked like a broad, barely-written sketch. I (and likely many others) figured we were in for pure garbage.
- Just as Bobby and Pete are hamming through a weak, go-nowhere mafia setup, and many of us are getting up for a sandwich, everything turns on its ear in the wildest way imaginable. So THAT’S where this dull shit is going! I still remember the reveal when watching it live and being FLOORED at what an unexpected, meta, and most importantly hilarious twist they’d come up with.
- Respected dramatic actor Peter Dinklage, beloved for decades in too many roles to list, continues to belt out the stupidest fucking song ever written with reckless abandon. He’s having a blast and just performing the HELL out of this, as locked-in as any host in recent memory, fully sold on total and unapologetic silliness.
- The song itself is among SNL’s best in years, and a reminder of how subversive you can get when you give in completely to the stupid.
- This continues to roll on brilliantly as an unconventional piece that’s hard to explain outright. If I had to dig up a spiritual sister to it, I might go all the way back six years to the masterful Potato Chip showcase for Will Forte & Jason Sudeikis. As with Potato Chip, how do you get across why this ridiculousness isn’t filler from some awful, karma-whoring TikTok account, but rather one of SNL’s weirdest and best nonsense pieces in years?!
- There’s absurdity all over the room, yet Peter is UNWAVERING in his deadpan, dead-eyed focus. And that focus is fixated on the most braindead material you could imagine! It takes an incredible amount of talent for even a seasoned comedian to walk that line, and part-time comedian Peter Dinklage is putting on a clinic here.
- If I were to rank the top individual-sketch performances by the hosts of this high-quality season, I’d probably go:
- (3-tie) Jonah Hill, Silver Star Catering
- (3-tie) Adam Driver, Social Puppeteering Seminar
- (2) Peter Dinklage, Space Pants
- (1) Ryan Gosling, Santa Baby
- BOBBY (cocking a pistol): I’m sorry, is what’s up there more interesting than what’s right here? PETE (bewildered): … kinda..
- Yeah, he’s not wrong.
- Now we elevate the absurdity to include Gwen Stefani. I’ve never been a fan, though I have lots of respect and good feels over celebrities willing to be this silly at the heights of their careers. She’s definitely adding to this with a hilarious voice and a fully-game attitude.
- Both Peter and Gwen have flubbed lyrics, but Mikey was prepared for that in putting together this silly bullshit. In his Mashable interview, he says he knew full well there would be flubs among all these moving/singing parts. That’s why the song’s called Space Pants, in fact – it’s a silly phrase Mikey knew Peter could just shout out to get things back on track.
- And thus ends one of the era’s best and most subversive pieces. What a great reminder that one does not need a complex premise or polished script to produce a classic – just trust your performer(s) to give in to the stupid! Full commitment makes it all possible. I cannot say enough about the performance of Peter here, which is more than enough to make this a top-25 sketch of the past 10 years. Fucking bra-vo, gang!
- A hilarious reveal of the sketch’s conceit, with this fancy restaurant being in a former sex parlor. And the casual reveal of a glory hole being on the wall next to the table is priceless, I’m already getting massive Mr. Show/The Kids in the Hall vibes from this sketch, which is always a great sign.
- Big, cheap laughs from the visual of the phallic breads coming through the glory hole, and how both Peter & Aidy are taking a delight in eating them.
- The initial reveal of the black phallic bread gets a huge audience reaction, as well as when it flopped down against the wall, causing Aidy & Vanessa to almost break character.
- A good ending with Beck’s pants-down bit which is a fitting capper to this solid sketch.
HBO First Look – Game of Thrones Season 6
- Very solid Emilia Clarke impression from Kate.
- I love the voice Taran’s using for his Iain Glen impression, as well as his solid delivery of his lines. He would also do a solid impression of Liam Cunningham as Ser Davos in a few episodes from now.
- Bobby’s hilarious here as the motion-picture actor for the dragon, as well as his desperation to get out of the suit for an emergency bathroom break.
- The visual of Bobby’s crotch being blow-dried in the background while Kate’s Emilia Clarke is speaking to the camera is absolutely hilarious.
- Funny fall from Bobby at the end.
Musical Performance – “Make Me Like You”
- Jesse Nathan: I’m pretty sure I’m the only person who cares about this sort of thing, but I find it kinda funny that Gwen Stefani would be musical guest on an episode hosted by someone born the same year as her (Peter Dinklage). Then again, the same thing happened with Jonah Hill earlier this season, as well as Margot Robbie and Jonathan Majors in Seasons 42 and 47, respectively.
- By the way, between Gwen and Ariana Grande in the preceding episode, SNL in 2016 sure likes booking musical guests who love ponytails, don’t they?
- Ah, here’s a song that I remember grabbing my attention the day after this aired.
- This intro sounds a lot better on the recording than it does live.
- Gwen’s opening vocals are a bit off, almost as if she’s trying to find the right note.
- Speaking of off, the guitars, which sound great on the album version, are a bit off here, though I can’t put my finger on why.
- I like Gwen’s smile throughout this.
- Okay, Gwen’s facial expressions are definitely working for me the more this goes on.
- Cool lighting.
- I forgot to mention this earlier, but I really love this chorus. Unfortunately, it’s not being very well-executed here.
- Was it necessary for Gwen to do a prayer sign when she said “Oh God”?
- I like the drum fill after the final chorus.
- Something about this performance felt a bit lackluster for me. Maybe it’s because I’m so used to the studio version that hearing this sounds wrong. Now, you could say it’s not a very strong offering, but here’s a question: if it’s supposedly not a strong offering, then why was it one of the first songs I purchased on iTunes in December 2018?
- I’m enjoying the opening rant from both Colin & Michael regarding Trump’s comments on abortion, even when they feel now more like a history book, which is what many of the Updates from the coming Trump era feel like, as that really kicks in slowly with late season 42 and full-on with season 43 onwards.
- I love Colin’s Justin Trudeau joke, amongst my favorites of his.
- Good NRA joke from Colin.
- I’m not really caring much for Pete’s commentary about Hulk Hogan, while well-delivered by him, the material just feels so dated. Again, this Weekend Update edition feels more like a history book than actual comedy.
- Very funny cutaway to Colin that steals this entire commentary.
- Another hilarious cutaway to Colin after Michael’s great “Surge of Vanilla” joke.
- The usual solid laugh from Kenan’s David Ortiz, even when the material is sometimes repetitive, Kenan’s delivery truly sells it.
- Ok, I did enjoy the BeeWorld from Kenan’s Ortiz, especially the motto of everybody getting stung.
- An absolutely priceless, yet very shocking reveal of Taran as a floating dead body next to Beck & Cecily’s undersea hotel window.
- I’m absolutely LOVING this very fun, creative, silly, and strong sketch concept, tonight’s episode has been killing it with these very fun sketches so far.
- A pretty huge laugh from Taran’s dead body suddenly disappearing, and then appearing out of nowhere.
- I love Peter’s very straitlaced delivery that Taran’s dead body is outside the window.
- I love Taran’s face just sticking on the window as he’s being fetched.
- Taran’s fantastic is his physical comedy, and his performance as the dead body is eerily accurate, and one of Taran’s final truly great moments.
- Holy hell at the moment with the eel eating Taran’s face.
- Great ending with Taran’s head breaking the room’s window and the ocean’s water slowly drowning the room.
- Lots of laughs from Peter’s very solid line deliveries at the beginning as he admits that the two hired actors (played by Aidy & Kate), claimed that they could do a Danish accent & the show didn’t bother to check with them.
- A very creative & funny sketch concept with a crime reenactment show being unable to afford proper actors for the roles. A fun concept which not only caters to my comedic tastes, but also feels old-school in the silliest, yet best way possible.
- I’m getting big laughs from Kate & Aidy’s ridiculous, Danish-accented, silly performances as these two muggers, and their constant usage of the word “bitch” is hilarious & enhances the very silly feel of this sketch.
- Good straight man reactions from Cecily & Taran, and Peter’s anchoring this sketch flawlessly. He has been just outstanding throughout the night.
- Kyle’s hilarious appearance, and that bizarre accent of his steal this entire sketch.
Musical Performance – “Misery”
- Jesse Nathan: It kinda bugs me that Gwen’s bumper photo for this second performance seems like a variation of Miley Cyrus’ second bumper photo.
- Mixed feelings on Gwen’s outfit.
- Unlike the first performance, I’m not too crazy about the intro for this song, and not because of how it sounds live.
- Not caring for this pre-chorus.
- Meh, this chorus isn’t really anything worthwhile, and will probably be forgotten by me in two days, unlike the last song, which has pretty much stuck with me for the last 5 or 6 years.
- Much like the first performance, Gwen’s vocals are a bit off, and not just because of the sound mixer.
- “Don’t sell this feeling at the grocery store.” Uh…how does that line make any sense?
- I’m not entirely sure Gwen knows what kind of tone she’s going for in her performance, as her facial expressions don’t entirely match the mood of the lyrics.
- The drums sound rather poorly mixed with the vocals.
- Okay, Gwen’s facial expressions are starting to match the lyrics a tad bit more as this goes on.
- This is more of a minor observation, but I kinda like how one of the backing vocalists does a “nuh-uh” gesture during the line “You’re in so much trouble”.
- I like Gwen’s smile at the end.
- Overall, much like the last performance, this felt rather lackluster. I wasn’t too crazy about the song, and Gwen’s vocals were a bit off even without the poor mixing, and it’s kinda obvious that she’s getting too old for this. It kinda reminds me of some of the problems I had with Kylie Minogue’s “Into the Blue”, except that that song was guilty of being too generic, especially for someone who was 45 at the time. Not sure which one’s the worst case, though. Gonna have to think about that.
Corporate Magic Show
- How many magicians did Taran play throughout his tenure? He played one in Blake Shelton’s episode last season, and famously fooled another in season 38’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt episode.
- Peter is perfect as the boss here, with very solid characterization, his demeanor at the beginning in particular is spot-on.
- Oh, I’m LOVING the concept of this sketch, once again tonight, of Peter’s character deconstructing Taran’s joke, it feels so old-school sketch comedy to me, I can seriously see this sketch on Mr. Show or The Kids in the Hall.
- While the sketch may seem flimsy at first, the performances, especially Peter’s terrific line delivery and his desperate ways to deconstruct the joke are providing great laughs throughout the sketch. Peter is performing the HELL out of the material, elevating it in the process.
- I love how more and more defeated Taran is becoming, this has been one of the last solid nights that Taran had before being abruptly fired during the summer.
- Vanessa’s whole brief scene steals the sketch, as well as Peter’s stern look towards her.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
Corporate Magic Show
HBO First Look – Game of Thrones Season 6
At This Hour
Naked and Afraid: Celebrity Edition
Winnie the Pooh
- An absolutely phenomenal, flawless episode, and a one that’s always been amongst my personal favorites in SNL history, since I watched it live six years ago. This episode serves as a perfect & quintessential episode for this era in my view with its variety of sketch concepts & humor styles which this era greatly succeeded at instead of doing the recurring-heavy sketches like the era before it did.
- Also, Peter Dinklage was, as highly anticipated by fans, an outstanding host who committed and gave very funny performances all night long and was reliable with his versatile performances and excellent line deliveries. I also especially love how this entire episode was nothing but solid, fun, one-off, silly, and creative sketch concepts all night long. Pretty much like the Rami Malek, Ariana DeBose, and the John Mulaney episodes from the latest SNL season.
- I do also recall the upcoming James Franco, Sandra Oh, Halsey, David Harbour, and Adam Driver episodes from seasons 43, 44, and 45 having that template of “nothing but solid, fun, one-off, silly, and creative sketch concepts all night long”, I sure hope all of these episodes live up to my very positive recollection of them when I eventually reach them.
- It is the notorious Russell Crowe episode with musical guest Margo Price.